Written by Michael Williams
The Orioles today announced that they have signed free agent OF NELSON CRUZ to a one-year contract. Cruz, 33, was an American League All-Star for the second time in 2013, batting .266/.327/.506 with 27 home runs and 76 RBI in 109 games for Texas.
Since becoming a regular in 2009, Cruz has hit at least 22 home runs in each of the last five seasons, and he is one of 13 hitters with 20 or more long balls in each of those seasons. Among players appearing in at least 100 games, Cruz is one of nine to have a slugging percentage of .500 or higher in at least four seasons since 2009.
Cruz has batted .278/.336/.683 with 14 home runs in 34 post-season games (137 plate appearances), ranking fifth all-time in playoff history in slugging percentage and tied for 11th in home runs. He was named MVP of the 2011 American League Championship Series against Detroit, batting .364/.440/1.273 with six home runs in six games, helping Texas reach the World Series for the second straight year.
In 2012, Cruz set career-highs in games (159), at-bats (585), runs (86), hits (152), doubles (45) and RBI (90). A career .268/.327/.506 hitter in nine big league seasons with Milwaukee (2005) and Texas (2006-13), Cruz was named an AL All-Star for the first time in 2009, when he set career-highs with 33 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Originally signed by the Mets as an amateur free agent on February 17, 1998, Cruz was acquired by Texas from Milwaukee with CARLOS LEE in exchange for four players on July 28, 2006. Cruz will wear jersey #23.
To make room for Cruz on the 40-man roster, LHP CHRIS JONES has been designated for assignment.
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